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A heap of garbage on the Layou Waterfront.
A heap of garbage on the Layou Waterfront.
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Readers of iWitness News are concerned about many things, including degradation of the environment.

Over the past weeks, some of our readers have sent to us photos of wanton disregard for the natural environment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

This was manifested in the removal of sand from beaches and the indiscriminate dumping of garbage in one of the nation’s towns.

We hope those photos will help to shed some light on the problems and cause those responsible to act individually and collectively to address them.

We hope those photos will help to shed some light on the problems and cause those responsible to act individually and collectively to address them.

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Lowmans 1
A trucker removes sand from Lowmans Bay on March 27, 2016.
Lowmans 2
Persons fill up bags of sand at Lowman’s Bay on March 27, 2016.
Sand mining at Peters Hope
Signs of sand mining at Peters Hope Bay on March 12, 2016.
Layou dumping
Garbage is seen floating in a river in Layou in March 2016.
Garbage in alley
Garbage in an alley way in Layou in March 2016.


Joel Poyer, a forest technician, had addressed some of these issues in an interview with iWitness News.

Mining sand on some beaches in St. Vincent continues to be legal, and in some cases is carried out by the government.

“I think it should be stopped all together. It’s a no-no,” Poyer said, adding that there are areas inland where sand deposited by a river flowing out of the volcano in the Richmond area can be mined.

Prime Minister Gonsalves has said the public policy of his government “is that we prohibit the removal of sand from beaches, save and expect one or two specified places, and that is also controlled”.

He, however, saw the logic of a policy introduced some two decades ago by then Prime Minister James Mitchell who wanted an outright ban on the removal of sand from beaches, and ordered that only imported sand be used for government projects.

Gonsalves has noted that many citizens had complained because the policy would have resulted in higher construction cost.

“But I think what he said was wise, because the beaches are important to us and the place is being eroded, particularly on the eastern side of the island. And the wave action is terrible and we have to spend a lot of money on sea defences and so forth.”

4 replies on “IN PHOTOS: Environmental degradation in St. Vincent”

  1. So who is responsible for this wanton abuse of our limited and fragile environment? The answer is as clear as glass. First, the people who engage in this destruction and pollution. Second, the people who tolerate this behaviour because they are indifferent to it. Third, a government which also allows indiscriminate garbage dumping and sand mining by refusing to enforce the laws against these practices and cares little about keeping our country clean. All of this reflects our backward Vincie mentality.

    Shame on you Sir Louis Straker for allowing this to take place in your home town! For God’s sake, you drive almost every day over the dilapidated bridge where all the river garbage is dumped but are blind to it!

    The photo of the Layou beachfront is the most revealing one. It shows the retaining wall which had to be built to compensate for decades of sand and gravel mining that resulted in chronic road flooding. The littered beach is a window into the mind of Layou people most of whom don’t even pay notice to or care about the filthy nature of their town. I suspect that their yards and homes are in the same condition.

    And we want to build an international tourism industry? Give me a break!

  2. You have to be kidding parts of Kingstown are many times worse than this.

    A few months agoI actually witnessed a street trader stripping leaves from a cabbage and throwing them in the roadside sewer, or drain if that makes anyone feel better.

    Kingstown is one big open sewer with food vendors without water to wash or toilet facilities, so they too urinate in the drains, men and women alike, some sitting behind their piles of pallets.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Well said, Peter. The point is that one expects a certain level of filth and decay in any urban centre. That our previously pristine countryside, towns, and villages are in such an awful state is as avoidable as it is heartbreaking.

      I remember daily village garbage collection via donkey cart as well as daily cleanup of the bayside area where I lived.

      The ULP should be renamed to the NLP: the Nasty Labour Party.

      Stil, a similar photo essay is needed for Kingstown and I urge readers to send their pictures to IWitness News.

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